Healthcare for UK nationals living in Austria
How to get state healthcare if you live, work or study in Austria.
Stay up to date
This guidance will be updated if anything changes to how you get state healthcare in Austria.
This information is about living in Austria. There’s different guidance if you’re visiting Austria.
Austria has a state health insurance fund (the Österreichische Gesundheitskasse) that you pay into each month to access state healthcare.
You may still have to pay on top of this to use some parts of the healthcare system.
UK nationals usually access the Austrian healthcare system in one of these ways:
- paying for state health insurance through your employer
- paying for state health insurance directly
- using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) for temporary stays when studying, or as a ‘posted’ (detached) worker
- registering a UK-issued S1 form with the state insurance fund (see ‘UK-funded healthcare: getting and using an S1 form in Austria’ below)
Healthcare if you live and work in Austria
If you are planning on moving to Austria, see the guidance on Living in Austria for more information about visa and residency requirements.
You must show proof of healthcare cover:
- before you can register as a resident
- when you apply for a visa
For details about the healthcare cover required for residency applications, contact local authorities in Austria or the appropriate Austrian embassy or consulate in the UK.
If you’re employed or self-employed in Austria it’s compulsory to have health insurance.
If you’re not working, you should take out voluntary insurance.
You can add your dependants to your insurance plan.
Your insurance begins on the day you took out the insurance, but there can be a waiting period of 6 months before you can claim any benefits from your insurer.
There will not be a 6-month wait if you were already insured in another way, either:
- for the 6 weeks before you took out insurance
- for 26 weeks at any point in the year before you took out insurance
You may be entitled to an Austrian EHIC for travel, including visits to the UK.
You may also have the right to apply for a UK S1 if you start drawing a UK State Pension (see ‘UK-funded healthcare: getting and using an S1 form in Austria’ below).
How to register for healthcare
You first need to register as a resident.
You’ll be signed up automatically for health insurance if you’re employed.
If not, contact your local branch of the Österreichische Gesundheitskasse (website in German).
If you require confirmation that the UK no longer covers your healthcare, you can request a ‘legislation letter’ from the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). You can request this by calling NHS Overseas Healthcare Services on +44 (0)191 218 1999 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm and Saturday, 9am to 3pm).
Once you’ve registered you will be given a card called an ‘e-card’. Show this every time you visit a doctor. You do not need to register with a doctor in Austria.
This card also gives you access to online services. Your Austrian EHIC is on the back.
How to access healthcare services
Find your nearest hospital or clinic on the Kliniksuche website (in German).
How much you’ll pay
Your monthly payment increases with your salary and varies across Austria.
Look for a doctor’s surgery that says:
- Kassenarzt (‘contracted doctor’)
- Alle Kassen (‘all insurers’)
You will not have to pay to see these doctors.
You will still have to pay for some medical services, for example:
- 20% of the cost of seeing a private doctor – your insurance scheme should reimburse the rest
- a fee of around 10 to 15 euros for each of your first 28 days in hospital
If your UK employer has sent you to Austria temporarily (‘posted workers’)
A posted worker, also known as a ‘detached worker’, is someone who is employed or self-employed in the UK, but temporarily sent to a European Economic Area (EEA) country.
UK posted workers can access healthcare in Austria using an EHIC, GHIC or S1 form.
HMRC has a helpline for National Insurance enquiries from non-UK residents. They can answer questions about posted worker status and explain which documents you will need to get healthcare while posted.
UK-funded healthcare: getting and using an S1 form in Austria
There’s different guidance if you have an S1 as a ‘posted worker’ (see ‘If your UK employer has sent you to Austria temporarily (‘posted workers’)’ above).
You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you’re a resident in Austria and receive a UK State Pension or an exportable benefit. See Planning your healthcare abroad on the NHS website for more information about eligibility.
You may also be entitled to an S1 form if you’re a frontier worker (someone who works in one state and lives in another). You must contact HMRC National Insurance enquiries to find out if you’re eligible.
Not all UK benefits that can be claimed while abroad entitle you to UK-funded healthcare. Read more about claiming benefits if you move abroad or contact Jobcentre Plus to ask about a benefit.
Once you have an S1 form, you must register it on the Austrian system.
This will mean you and your dependants will be entitled to healthcare in Austria on the same basis as an Austrian citizen.
You’ll also get:
- a UK-issued EHIC or GHIC for travel
- planned treatments in other EU countries
Dependants and family members may be classified differently in Austria than the UK.
Check with the local authorities when you register your S1 form.
If you’re entitled to an S1 form as a dependant of a State Pensioner, your health cover will be cancelled once you begin claiming your UK State Pension.
You will be sent a new S1 form to your registered address from NHS Overseas Healthcare Services. You must register this form to ensure continuation of healthcare cover.
You are responsible for informing NHS Overseas Healthcare Services if you change your address or your circumstances change.
NHS Overseas Healthcare Services
Telephone: +44 (0)191 218 1999
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Saturday, 9am to 3pm
How to get an S1 form
If you have a UK State Pension or another qualifying exportable benefit, you must request an application form by phone from NHS Overseas Healthcare Services (see contact details above).
How to use an S1 form in Austria
You must register your S1 form with the state health insurance fund (the ‘Österreichische Gesundheitskasse’ in German).
Once registered, you’ll be given a card called an ‘e-card’. This shows that you’re entitled to healthcare on the same basis as an Austrian citizen.
Show this every time you visit a doctor.
This card also gives you access to online services.
If you are experiencing delays registering your S1 with local authorities and require emergency or urgent treatment, contact the Overseas Healthcare Services on 0044 191 218 1999.
Studying in Austria
You should apply for a Student GHIC to get medically necessary, state-provided healthcare for the duration of your study period in Austria, whether this is for part or all of your course. This means that you’ll get necessary healthcare services on the same basis as an Austrian citizen either for free or at a reduced cost.
If you already hold a valid Student EHIC you can use this until the card expires.
Read more about eligibility and how to apply
Getting treatment in the UK
Because the NHS is a residency-based system, under NHS rules UK nationals who move abroad on a permanent basis may lose their entitlement to free NHS healthcare.
If you are a UK national and move to the EU, you should not expect to be able to use NHS services for free when visiting the UK unless you have an EHIC, PRC or S2 to show your healthcare costs are funded by the EU country in which you now live, or another exemption applies.
Some former UK residents do not have to pay for NHS treatment when visiting England. This includes:
- UK war pensioners
- UK government employees
- UK nationals living in the EU on or before 31 December 2020, once they have a registered, UK-issued S1
Read more about using the NHS when you no longer live in the UK (see ‘UK nationals who no longer live in the UK’ in Healthcare for visitors to the UK from the EU).
If you return to live in the UK you’ll be able to use the NHS like any other UK resident.
Read more about using the NHS when you return to live in the UK.
Last updated 19 October 2021 + show all updates
Updated 'Healthcare if you live and work in Austria' to include information about how to find your nearest hospital or clinic. Updated 'UK-funded healthcare' to include information for S1 dependants who begin claiming a UK State Pension, and guidance for S1 holders who are experiencing delays in registering their S1. Updated 'Studying in Austria' to include more information on Student GHIC and Student EHIC cards. Updated 'Getting treatment in the UK' to provide additional detail about NHS access when visiting the UK.
Added information about how to request a 'legislation letter' If you require confirmation that the UK no longer covers your healthcare.
Updated 'If your UK employer has sent you to Austria temporarily ('posted workers')' to reflect that posted workers can continue to get healthcare in Austria using an EHIC, GHIC or S1 form, and added link about healthcare when you no longer live in the UK to 'Getting treatment in the UK' section.
Updated sections on living and working in Austria, using an S1 form in Austria, posted workers and studying in Austria. Changes reflect healthcare arrangements for people moving to Austria under the new rules of the UK’s deal with the EU.
Updated 2 sections: ‘Healthcare if you’re using an S1 form in Austria and ‘Healthcare if you’re studying in Austria’. Students and people with a registered S1 in Austria can now apply for a new UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) that will remain valid from 1 January 2021.
Details on the ways that you access healthcare have been updated. The guidance now only covers living, working and studying. Information on visiting has been moved to: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-residents-visiting-the-eueea-and-switzerland-healthcare